“Project Pigeon” by famous behaviorist B.F. Skinner was an attempt to develop accurately guided missiles that couldn’t be jammed by enemy devices. The idea was to put a pigeon and a monitor displaying the target in the nose of a missile. The pigeon was trained to peck at the target on the screen, steering the missile and keeping it on course. Surprisingly, tests were relatively successful but the program was abandoned in favour of newer, more effective technology.
In 1960, after the project was declassified from its military secret status, B.F. Skinner published a wonderful article entitled “Pigeons in a Pelican” about it. The article is a must-read for anyone interested in bio-mechanical hybrids, and makes a strong case for what Skinner calls “crackpot ideas” in science.
Credits: B.F. Skinner